What it Truly Means to Love the Planet
Celebrating Earth Day during a pandemic was definitely a new experience for everyone. Normally, most of us would try to spend the day outdoors, appreciating nature and all that Mother Earth has to offer. It’s understandable then, that many of us probably find the current situation of being isolated less than ideal. However, there’s always another way of looking at things.
What if people across the world staying in their homes isn’t such a bad thing at the moment? Obviously there are the common, popular remarks about how Mother Earth is taking a break and regenerating, how staying home is preventing the further spread of COV19, and how this is a chance for us all to slow down and re-evaluate how we live our lives. However, what I’m referring to is something more than that; something I haven’t heard or read much about at all in the media. I’m referring to our love for nature … true love that is.
Love has been sold to us as a feeling we have for someone or something else, whereby if we lose access to that someone or something, we’ll suffer. Love has been ingrained in us as something we benefit from. Love is a feeling from which each of us gain. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but when I think of love, I think of it as something selfless and unconditional. To me, love is a balance of give and take. If we were all to look deep inside, I wonder how many others would share a similar view.
It’s almost certainly the case that, if you’re reading this and following what our organization does, you yourself love the Earth. That’s why there are so many of us getting involved in environmental movements of some kind across the globe, because we love the planet. I’m wondering what exactly that means though. What does it mean to truly love the planet? Sure, we love breathing fresh air, listening to waves crashing on the beach, enjoying the smells of a forest, cooling off in a lake or river, observing wildlife, going on adventures, getting exercise, taking in views, and so on. All of these experiences are ones that we treasure. At the same time, all of these experiences are ones from which we benefit. That’s perfectly fine though. There’s nothing wrong with benefiting from something you love, unless, of course, that benefit is one-sided. Each of us has our own intimate relationship with the natural environment. The question is, how mutually beneficial is that relationship?
When governments across the world began putting restrictions on us, encouraging and enforcing us to stay home in an attempt to stem the further spread of this virus, a vast majority seemed to be okay with that. Afterall, it makes sense, right? If we stay home, we lower the chance of spreading and contracting the infection. There’s an individual benefit to self-isolating and following the guidelines currently being recommended by health experts. Well, what if similar guidelines and restrictions were put on us for the benefit of our planet? What if we were asked to stay home and lay low for a couple of months each year so the Earth we love so much could take a break and regenerate? What if this pause in our current lifestyle of comfort, convenience and consumption was for the benefit of Mother Nature, rather than for us? Would such a large majority of people be just as willing to stay inside and wait until we were given the okay to venture back out? Obviously, I can’t answer this on behalf of anyone but me, but I do feel it’s an important question we all ask ourselves. Do we love our natural world enough to stay away from it for a while?
A few days ago, sitting on my rooftop staring at the sea, I found my answer. Despite knowing very well that it’d be a long time before I could plunge into that salty world once again, I noticed that I had a massive smile on my face. Why? Because I realized that this sea is part of an environment that we all place huge demands on, and which is now getting a well-deserved break from those demands. After so much taking, it’s now time to give, and despite a deep desire to get outdoors again, I can honestly say that I love our planet enough to stay away for even longer in order to allow it more time to heal. In my opinion, that’s true love.